University sharing expertise as part of transatlantic research project

Swansea University has joined landmark international project examining the history and politics of deindustrialisation.

Through its new CHART (Centre for Heritage Research and Training), the University is now a formal institutional partner in DePOT, Deindustrialization and the Politics of our Time, with Dr Hilary Orange, senior lecturer in Industrial Heritage and co-Director of CHART, added as a full co-researcher. 

Funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, DePOT examines the historical roots, and lived experience of deindustrialisation in transnational and comparative perspective.

The project involves 33 partner organizations and 24 co-applicants from six countries including Italy, Germany, France, Canada, United States, and the UK. These partners include leading research centres in the fields of labour studies, oral history, gender history, industrial heritage, and social movements, as well as museums, trade unions, labour archives, an Indigenous college, and a university press.

The project will culminate in journal articles and book chapters, a transnational workshop, a summer institute for students, creative outputs from an artists-in-residence programme, and newspaper op-eds. The project's capstone will be a collectively authored volume on Deindustrialization and the Politics of Our Time, as well as a simultaneous exhibition in all six countries with an accompanying book.

All this will be structured within via six research initiatives and Dr Orange will be contributing to the themes of The Politics of Industrial Heritage and Working-Class Expression and importantly will be introducing a Welsh focus, including building on research on the Welsh steel industry, undertaken with her Swansea colleague Professor Louise Miskell.  

Membership of the consortium will create many opportunities for Swansea staff and students and a considerable part of the DePOT budget goes to mentoring and supporting the next generation of deindustrialisation scholars.

Students will be able to attend the DePOT summer institutes or become project affiliates. For Swansea staff, the project also has a research associate pathway to enable researchers from a variety of related disciplines to develop their research in collaboration with the DePOT network. 

All DePOT activities will be run under the banner of CHART which is already growing a community of interest around the heritage research and practice in Wales.   

Professor David Turner, Co-Director of CHART, School of Culture and Communication, said: “Being part of DePOT connects research and innovation at Swansea University to a global network that uses history to address the social, economic and cultural challenges faced by post-industrial societies. 

“Swansea and its region have a rich industrial heritage and our researchers have been at the forefront of projects that use this history to inform regeneration of former industrial sites in the city. CHART looks forward to working with DePOT to develop research projects with real social impact.”

DePOT will build on the decade-long legacy of previous research and engagement on the legacies of Welsh industry, including at the Hafod Morfa Copperworks, the coalfields collection, large collaborative projects on disability in the Industrial Revolution and current work on Welsh steel communities.

As a recent addition to the faculty, Dr Orange brings with her international scholarship on industrial heritage and deindustrialisation in the UK, Japan, and Germany. She has previously worked with DePOT PI, Professor Steven High, co-editing the Routledge Handbook of Memory and Place, and from 2016-2018 she was hosted by Professor Stefan Berger – another DePOT co-applicant – at the Institute for Social Movements, during her Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship.

Dr Orange said: “I am very proud to be part of this prestigious and large transnational project and to put deindustrialisation studies firmly on the map at Swansea University. I particularly look forward to involving colleagues and supporting Swansea students in accessing international opportunities.” 

Dr Orange will be chairing a DePOT roundtable on the theme of Curating and Archiving Deindustrialization on Friday, November 19. Everyone is welcome to sign up

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